It takes a brave soul to admit the unadmittable and I like to think that on my better days, I am that brave. So here goes…
Elsa was right.
It’s true. Strip away the awkward dress and impossible waistline, cut her hair into something reasonable, and you will find the truth. The only way I will get through this life with my sanity intact is to let it go. Let all the unnecessary shit go.
I had the last few months all planned out. We would coast through the last three weeks of school. My daughter would start swim team practice while my son was taking a week’s worth of private lessons to get him ready for swim team. My husband and I had plans for a weekend away to see a great band. Both kids would enjoy end-of-year parties and festivities and we would all enjoy some time in the sun by the pool. It was going to be grand.
One morning my son came to my bedside bright and early declaring that his stomach hurt. One episode of vomit is not going to derail my plans. He was down for about two days and then seemed to really perk up. He started eating a bit and was interested in taking a ride with me to run an errand. It’s all going to work out…this is not going to derail my plans!
Our first stop was to a fancy boutique to pick up a few end-of-year teacher gifts. (I have since wrapped my arms around the universe in praise and thanks for giving me the insight to go there first. If not, this article would have never happened because I would have had to sell my laptop to cover the cost of the damages.) He seemed happy and feeling well, so next we stopped at a big box retailer.
You have not lived until your child vomits deep inside the aisles of a retail store.
When the first wave hit the floor, I felt an immediate sense of panic and a desperate need to flee. This was followed by the realization that I was completely stuck. Unless you are lucky enough to experience "the barfies" right next to the bathroom or close to an exit, you are totally and completely screwed. There is not a single thing you can do.
I had nothing to use – I love my son but I was not about to offer my purse as a barf bag – and nowhere to go. I realized quickly that I could rail against this situation as much as I wanted to but I would likely die trying. I had no other choice but to go with it. Wave after wave hit the floor as we gingerly made our way to the nearest exit. His entire body, my legs, and my adorable animal print flats were all collateral damage.
I found an unsuspecting sales associate and mumbled something about the trail we left behind, how sorry I was, and a slew of thanks and words of appreciation. We made it to my car only to find that I was again sorely unprepared. I had but a few thin tissues and lots of kind words to try and make things better. We both cried a bit and laughed through the tears.
Once we were home, cleaned, and resting I calmly and quietly did what I knew I needed to do. I scheduled an appointment with the pediatrician, emailed the school to let the teachers know he would miss the last week completely, officially canceled swim lessons, notified our friends that we would not make it for the weekend away, and withdrew him from the swim team.
With that, I let it all go.
While this was all relatively minor, I have found that letting go of the little things is the only way I will ever get through the big things. Believe me, I know. (There is nothing like a surprise cancer diagnosis to totally fuck up your summer plans.) I sit firmly in the realization that I have very little control over my surroundings and I have to be okay with that. I feel like I have a strong foothold on what’s for dinner, but that’s about it. While letting go sometimes takes my breath away, I realize that it’s the only way I can function.
I have found, to my surprise, that when I truly let go, despite how uncomfortable it may make me feel, the world does not stop turning. Nothing awful happens in some horrible dramatic fashion. No one dies. It really is all very much okay to let it go. While I certainly did not have the time I imagined we would, and there was certainly disappointment for what I had hoped for, what I ended up having was really just as nice. It turned out to be just what we needed.
I discovered that my disappointment didn’t exist because I was no longer happy with our circumstances. In fact, our quiet days at the pool and having only one child to cart to swim practice was actually everything we needed at the time. My disappointment existed because of my expectations. More often than not there is a great divide between what we expect will happen and what actually happens. Within that gap is where disappointment lives.
So, to preemptively ward off future disappointments, I hereby declare the rest of my summer expectation-free. If something happens, bonus! If not, it’s completely okay, because honestly, I was never really planning on it anyway.